Advances in breeding and technology are creating opportunities for cattle producers to put better beef on dinner tables across the country.
Mike Kasten has been touting using artificial insemination or AI practices in herds across Missouri to give consumers what they want. The Millersville, Mo., farmer says that today's cattle producers have technology that was not available just 15 years ago. They just need to use it.
Kasten heads the state's "Quality Beef by the Numbers" program from the University of Missouri Extension and MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. The program allows individuals to use proven protocols for fixed-timed AI. Kasten says this program is key to getting better beef in homes. The program focuses on farmers choosing the highest quality beef genetics from proven sires. Better genetics puts high-quality beef on consumer's plates.
However, the Quality Beef by the Numbers program is not just beneficial for consumers looking for a better beef product. Kasten says it offers premiums for livestock producers. By pairing quality heifers with quality sires, you end up with a quality product. Still Kasten says quality calves require more than genetics or AI breeding. "You have to take care of them and treat them right. That includes health and nutrition."
This brings in the "By the Numbers" part of Quality Beef. This program does not want farmers to manage a herd based on average. Rather, it focuses on identifying the top calves and tying them back to their mamas and their sires. Good records allow producers to recognize the high-quality cattle and to get rid of the low-quality cattle at the bottom. The numbers are recorded all the way through a calf's life, up to final carcass weight, USDA quality grades and all premiums paid for quality beef.
The numbers pay off
For a cattle producer, building better beef means knowing which cows in your herd will produce a quality product. These cows will also make the most money. According to the University of Missouri Extension, Kasten shipped his last load of calve to a Kansas feedlot. He then looked at two sets of numbers--the most profitable calf and least profitable calf. The most profitable calf made $883 more than the least. The bottom calf lost $249.97 while the best made a net profit of $633.03.
The top and bottom calves were born nine days apart. Weaning weights were within 2 pounds of each other. The weight into the feedlot was only 50 pounds different.
The big difference was at the end. The carcass of the top calf weighed 997 pounds. The bottom carcass weight was 705 pounds.
Another difference: The top calf graded prime. The other did not.
Even Kasten, who knows genetics pays, was shocked at the difference in value, top and bottom.
He'll definitely keep replacement heifers out of the profitable cow that produces the most profitable calf.
For more information about the program, visit the website.
Source: University of Missouri Extension